Master Cooling’s 1996 Editorial

Master Cooling’s 1996 Editorial which was reran in the “The Gateway” from January 2002

The editors thought it would be appropriate to run once more.  I recently returned from a visit to the Glen Lakes Dojo in Michigan. While there, Sensei Bronson had arranged for some “question-and-answer” time for her students. Each student wrote down ten questions for me, and the questions ranged from “On what day was Master Shimabuku born?” to “What can I do to improve my kata?”

By far the most interesting question was, “What can I do to better serve my sensei, and the Order of Isshin Ryu?” I would like to share with you my answer, because I think it’s a point of view we sometimes overlook:  

“Be true to yourself. Be true to your sensei. If you give your word, keep it. If you can’t keep it, don’t give it. A person is only as good as their word. If you take care of those things, everything else will fall into place.”

 I went on to remind them that even though they are far away, they are still an important part of the O.I. It’s also important that everyone understand that the O.I. is not some big organization that forces policy on everyone. It is a lot of small organizations (dojo) that contribute to make the larger group a success. It is a perfect example of the sum of the parts being greater than the whole. You, theindividual, are the O.I. — you are the one that makes it work.

Another important point about being in the O.I. is tenacity. If nothing else is instilled in our members, it should be: If you get knocked down, you get back up. Even if someone tells you that you aren’t capable, you tell them you can — you don’t quit.

Please be more conscious about how you refer to our organization. Several people have been referring to it as the Order. “The Order” is the name of a militia group, and is not connected with us in any way, nor do we want people to think we are. Please use either “Order of Isshin Ryu” or “O.I.” Since we’re on the subject of how to refer to ourselves: I noticed that on the Hall of Fame nominations, people filled in “Cambridge Dojo”, “Glen Lake Dojo”, etc. as the name of their school. We are all Order of Isshin Ryu, and the name of your school on the form should reflect that. Please use “Cambridge Dojo – Order of Isshin Ryu”, “PVC Dojo – Order of Isshin Ryu”, etc.

Yours in Isshin Ryu,

Toby Cooling